A required field manual for chasers of illuminated orbs that lacks a wide appeal.

Strange Lights in West Texas

An author sums up his research into an ongoing, unsolved mystery, the enigmatic lights seen at night around ground level near Marfa, Texas.

Bunnell, a Texas native with 37 years in the aerospace industry, relates his investigation of the Marfa Lights, which he also chronicled in three previous books (Hunting Marfa Lights, 2009, etc.). The lights are famous throughout North America, but particularly in the Lone Star State. These illuminated orbs have a history dating back to the Native Americans (who thought they were stars fallen to Earth) and cowboys (who mistook them for Native American campfires). Now they are a major attraction in Marfa, complete with an official public viewing area overlooking Mitchell Flat. While an ideal vantage point, Bunnell writes, the area also encompasses passing traffic, mirages, all-night ranch lights, aircraft navigation beacons, and even a tethered Air Force blimp. Cumulatively, these look-alikes, often mistaken for the genuine article, inspire dismissals from skeptics. The Marfa Lights (which Bunnell calls “MLs” for “mysterious lights”) really do exist, he claims, and he presents many full-page color reproductions captured on film and video and with a specially modified Canon digital SLR camera able to show infrared sources. His judgment: MLs exhibit both electric-plasma and heated-chemical (burning) qualities. The lights themselves, significantly, resist wind currents, though their heat signatures do not. Conspiracy theorists and believers in aliens, UFOs, and ghosts will likely be disappointed by Bunnell’s amazingly speculative but rational geological (para-geological?) explanation for MLs. Because the author has written extensively about the lights before, this summation has a bit of a patchy feel, more technical manual than a cohesive narrative of one man’s decadeslong search for an incredible truth. And, while some close-up MLs encounters were evidently unsettling to witnesses, Bunnell isn’t out to scare anyone. This is specifically for the benefit of aspiring Scullys and Mulders who Want to Believe and investigate for themselves, complete with numerous maps, do’s and don’ts, and tips on the terrain.

A required field manual for chasers of illuminated orbs that lacks a wide appeal.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9709249-7-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lacey Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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